‘Tis the season to come on down to JANM for our last Target Free Family Saturday of 2012!

Phew!  It’s been a busy year full of family fun and we’re ending 2012 with festive holiday performances and activities this Saturday, December 8th.  Hope you’re ready to join us.

For our craft activities we’ll be making garland, wintery scenes, and of course our friend Ruthie will be ready to fold origami with you all.

There will be cookies, a photo booth, storytelling, and more!  Take a look at the full program for the day here.

As I get materials ready for Saturday, I look at the shelves of our supply closet and see traces of all the various activities we’ve done over the past few years.  Besides realizing that it’s probably time to do a big clean-up job in here (yikes!), I am also reminded of all the fantastic creativity we’ve seen from JANM’s family day visitors.  Pieces of cardboard, bits of yarn, and piles of wiggly eyes have been transformed into some amazing and unique robots, masks, puppets, bags… the list goes on and on!

You are all wonderful and you keep us inspired and excited about what we do here at JANM!  Thank you to all who have joined us for Target Free Family Saturdays.  We hope to see you this coming Saturday and next year for Oshogatsu and another year of family day fun!

Join us for Target Free Family Saturday!

Our next Target Free Family Saturday is just around the corner!  We hope to see all our friends on Saturday, July 14th for a day filled with activities and crafts.  Our theme is Faces and Places so we will be exploring adventure and travel with a full schedule of programming.

Here’s a sneak peak at our craft activities for the day.  Using pieces of fabric,  customize a bag to take with you when you’re on the go.

You’ll also have a chance to decorate a travel journal so you’ll have a place to capture fun memories by writing and drawing about your summertime adventures.

Hope to see you there!

Vote for JANM by June 1st!

The Japanese American National Museum has once again been nominated in Downtown News‘ 2012 Best of Downtown Contest!

We’ve been nominated in 2 categories: Best Museum and Best Family Attraction for our Target Free Family Saturdays!

Help us win by going to votebestof.com and follow the instructions to vote.

Plus, if you vote for at least 30 categories (out of the 120 total), you automatically get entered to win prizes (grand prize: 2-night stay at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel that includes dinner for two at Sai Sai, $200 spending cash, dinner for two at Morton’s The Steakhouse, a $150 Ticketmaster gift card, and a Los Angeles Conservancy walking tour. Additional prizes: iPod Touch, cash prizes, gift certificates and more!).

You’ll need to log in to vote. If you have voted in previous years, you can use the same account.

Voting is open until June 1, 2012. Help us win!!

Go to votebestof.com >>

April Target FREE Family Saturday — Monster Mash!

Our next Target FREE Family Saturday theme is Monster Mash! Join us on April 14th from 11am-4pm for a full day of monster related fun & crafts for the whole family. It’s FREE ALL DAY!

At 2pm, artist, toy designer, and unofficial Kaiju* Toy and Art Ambassador Mark Nagata will talk about Kaiju toys and how they are made.

You may remember Mark from his participation in our Dreams to Dreams Custom Vinyl Toy Show in 2008 and the Year of the Labbit Custom Show in 2011.

Mark wrote an article for our Discover Nikkei website in 2007 that shared how he got interested in vinyl toys & monsters. (Read “Beyond Ultraman” >>)


In addition to Mark’s talk, join us for monster crafts, Kidding Around the Kitchen‘s Healthy Monster Mash Mix, face painting, caricatures, and origami.

Generously sponsored by Target, these special Saturdays are filled with fun activities giving families unique ways to learn, play, and grow together.

Check the full schedule >>

Folding Paper opens Saturday!

The exhibition opening is almost here! Folding Paper: The Infinite Possibilities of Origami opens this Saturday with a big day of origami activities at our March Target Free Family Saturday event.

It’s a FREE day full of activities, a gallery tour of Folding Paper with curator Meher McArthur, a talk and book signing with Takayuki Ishii, author of One Thousand Paper Cranes: The Story of Sadako and the Children’s Peace Statue.

Check out the full schedule >>


For Museum Members, we hope you can join us for the special Members’ Preview on Friday night. The program will include curator Meher McArthur and our new President & CEO G.W. Kimura.


To learn more about Folding Paper, visit janm.org for information about the exhibition, a list of related public programs, artist bios, and photos. You can also download an origami resources list from the Activities page.

Folding Paper exhibition site >>

It’s our last Target Free Family Saturday of 2011

Bring the family to the Museum this Saturday, December 10th as we finish off the year by designing wrapping paper and making paper snowflakes to go with this chilly weather that we’ve had the past couple of days.

We’re big fans of origami here at the Museum so we’ll also be making origami hopping frogs.  After you fold yours, have a contest with folded frogs made by other visitors to see how far they can hop.

If frogs aren’t your thing, we’ll also have an area for you to sharpen your origami skills making other fun things. Join us for these activities as well as Japanese gift wrapping workshops throughout the day.  A full schedule can be found here.

As an added bonus, if you come on Saturday, you’ll have a chance to join artist Patrick Nagatani at 2:00 pm for a gallery tour of his exhibition Desire for Magic: Patrick Nagatani currently on view in the Museum’s Weingart Foundation Gallery.

Finishing off 2011, we look ahead to 2012 for another year of family fun, which we hope you’ll join us for.  Our first event of the year is our big Oshogatsu New Year celebration on Sunday, January 8th.  Bring the whole family as we celebrate the Year of the Dragon! [Check out the Oshogatsu Family Day schedule of activities >>]

Come back on February 11th for our next Target Free Family Saturday and then again on March 10th for Target Free Family Day as well as a celebration of the opening of our next exhibition Folding Paper: the Infinite Possibilities of Origami.  See you soon!

Gettin’ arty at Target Free Family Day THIS SATURDAY!

Saturday (June 11th) is Target Free Family Saturday from 11 am – 4 pm! This month we join our neighbors at MOCA in celebrating Street Art.  We have a full schedule of painting demonstrations, sketching workshops, and art making activities. Our friends from the Mixed Roots Festival will be taking part in the fun with some art making too.

I always have so much fun thinking about art activities for Family Day but, sometimes, something seems like a good idea at first but it needs to be tested and tweaked before putting it into action at Family Day.  Yesterday I tried things out and made a few samples of our poster making and sticker printing activities for Saturday. Fortunately, everything worked out pretty well so, come on over!  We’re ready! I can’t wait to see what the creative minds of our Family Day visitors will come up with.  Hope you’ll join us!